For it’s November “Art” issue, Pharrell covers Paper Magazine and sits down with Shepard Fairey to discuss fashion, brand collaborations, music and more:
Shepard Fairey: It’s great to see everything you’re doing now. You’re kicking ass. So I know you skated a lot when you were younger. That was a big thing for me, too; it was what opened my eyes to creative cultures. You grew up in Virginia Beach, which was a big skate town. Do you think it was skateboarding that initially got you into what you are into musically and artistically?
Pharrell Williams: Yeah, because at the end of the day it attracted so many people of different cultures that you were bound to learn something from each other because you all have something cool in common, and that unified us as kids. And I thought it was amazing as a child that all my friends were so different, listening to all different kinds of music.
SF: I grew up in South Carolina, so I don’t think we had all that different of an experience in terms of skating. The openness of it, the creativity, it definitely fueled a lot of things that I’m into. At what point did you get interested in visual art? When you put out your first album in 2002, did you already have a sense of what you wanted to present visually? How did that develop?
PW: I always had my own ideas and things I wanted to see. I guess it was the hidden artist in me that wanted to make a lot of choices as to how I wanted to be seen, or what I wanted people to digest about me. There’s a veil of obscurity that goes along with that as well.
SF: I’m a huge fan of your music but I want to learn a little bit more about how you evolved into the clothing, the art collecting, how you collaborated with FriendsWithYou, Louis Vuitton — how this evolved is what I’m really interested in.
PW: To be honest, it’s about going from one lily pad to the next and just making sure you hop on the right ones. And it’s just important you do things that are exciting to you and that present a learning experience. I don’t ever want to do anything that I can’t learn from, so that’s why I always collaborate with the best: because I know they can teach me.
Check out the rest of the interview here.
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